6 years ago this week, I signed on the lease and LLC for Alair.
I have always over-shared with y’all, and I have also always felt like Alair belongs to all of us. We are all invested.
2022 has been hard. The past 6 months have been SO much harder than the first 2 years of Covid combined — emotionally and financially. We’ve stretched our financing options beyond thin. I’ve sacrificed professionally and personally everything I am able.
The expansion of Dylan was an investment born of opportunity and necessity- in an attempt to be able to stay open long-term. It was a ton of work and a lot of learning. And we’re so glad we did it. (I’m telling you this part for all the people that keep saying some version of “you expanded and you’re never on the floor anymore- you must be doing so well!” to me. Please stop. I cry each time. I have never worked more days or longer hours.)
Just even more TMI:
I am nervous. I’m nervous that everyone will be traveling over the holidays (and then isolating) and not shopping. I am nervous about whether it’s sustainable to continue to run this business—this amazing business that supports so many badass artists.
There are so many factors that we can’t control. And honestly, I’m exhausted with trying to.
It’s tough to be in a constant state of rallying. To be constantly looking for that Hail Mary.
I’m one emergency away from being bankrupt- personally and for the LLC. One big robbery or one more huge dog emergency. It’s a lot of “what-ifs”.
We have an amazing landlord that believes in us. That is the biggest reason that we are still able to open the doors every day. But our overhead is high.
I’m exhausted. Sam is exhausted. And I’ve realized that it’s not possible to own this business alone anymore. I will possibly just work myself to actual death.
In our first year open, we had a >$10k burglary. In our second year, we had a landlord that kicked me out of the space and we had to pay for an unexpected move. Then a pandemic happened. I didn’t go into Covid with a savings account cushion. I went into it paying bills month-to-month.
The bottom line of all of that is that maybe it’s time for me to close the shop.
For any chance to save it, I am going to need to make some big changes (that may or may not be temporary if I can pull it off) and then reassess in 4-5 months after the holidays. But honestly, it would take nothing short of a not-divine-but-all-hard-work-and-community miracle.
A lot can happen in 4 months. Maybe I’ll find a partner to share the workload. Maybe someone will want to sublease Dylan Clothing and run that portion. Maybe someone will want to buy the entire shop and keep it going. Maybe we’ll get a huge grant or all of my loans will magically be paid.
Anything could happen.
I thought this was going to be a different email. I thought I was going to say that I’m closing the doors now. But then I pictured calling all these small makers and telling them. These folks are so brave and trying so hard. Plus, so far, they have survived a pandemic. We all have.
And, so many makers are so introverted usually. Artists tend to be. They sit alone pressing cards or making candles and then go into a store that they follow on Instagram and say “I made this. Will you sell it?” And that is SO BRAVE for most people. I am in constant awe of them.
And it’s not that I think they’ll be disappointed. I know they’ll just be sad for me. But... I believe in them. And in not buying cheap shit from China and having it shipped across the world and fucking up the earth.
This email has become so long* so I’ll leave it here for now. In a couple of days, look for the “what this all means and what changes to expect” email.
The support of the Alair community has been amazing and humbling af.
I love you and like you.
*That’s what she said